Week 5: Atlanta at San Francisco
Since 1967, one year after the Atlanta Falcons were formed, through the NFL’s realignment in 2002, the Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers were division rivals first in the NFL’s Coastal Division and then in the NFC Western Division. As such, the two clubs were familiar foes as they faced one another twice a season.
Sunday’s game marks just the third time the clubs have met since the realignment of divisions. Atlanta narrowly defeated the 49ers in both games since they moved to different divisions but San Francisco maintains a 44-27-1 edge in the regular season series.
Oct. 16, 1966 – Atlanta suffered the worst loss to that point of its inaugural season. The Falcons failed to muster much on either side of the ball. San Francisco QB John Brodie led the 49ers to a 44-7 win by throwing for 248 yards and three touchdowns.
Nov. 4, 2007 – The 49ers opened the game with a 59-yard scoring drive but failed to find the end zone again as they fell 20-16 for their sixth straight loss. Atlanta’s defense forced four turnovers and running back Warrick Dunn rushed for 100 yards and scored one TD to pace the Falcons.
Hall of Fame Members
The Falcons do not have any long-term members of the organization who’ve been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Two enshrinees, running back Eric Dickerson and wide receiver Tommy McDonald, played briefly in Atlanta. The 49ers are represented in Canton by eleven players who spent a significant, if not all, of their career with the team in addition to Coach Bill Walsh. Also, four other enshrinees including Class of 2009 members Bob Hayes and Rod Woodson spent a brief time with the 49ers.
Records found in the NFL Record Book
No team in NFL history has come close to the record 18 straight wins on the road recorded by the 49ers. The string of victories began with a late season 48-10 win in San Diego in 1988 and spanned through the entire 1989 and 1990 seasons.
Falcons kicker Morten Andersen became the first player in NFL history to kick three 50-yard field goals in the same game. He accomplished the feat in Atlanta’s 19-14 win over the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 10, 1995.
Sept. 19, 1993
|Steve Young completed 18 of 22 passes including one to himself against the Falcons.
The San Francisco 49ers came into this Week 3 matchup against the Falcons at 1-1, fresh off a loss on the road to the Cleveland Browns. Meanwhile Atlanta fell to 0-2 the week earlier in a last-minute 34-31 loss to the New Orleans Saints on a field goal as time expired.
The Falcons jumped to a 16-10 halftime lead but San Francisco rebounded in the second half with four touchdowns. The 49ers started the third quarter by moving 71 yards in just four plays capped by a 20-yard pass play from Steve Young to tight end Brent Jones. Atlanta responded when Bobby Hebert hooked up with Andre Rison for their second TD pass, this on a 3-yard scoring strike.
Late in the quarter, Young was involved in an oddity. He completed a pass to himself. The future Hall of Fame QB had intended the pass for RB Ricky Watters but it bounced off the chest of Falcons QB Vinny Clark and back into Young’s hands.
The play gained six yards and was followed by a two-yard touchdown run by Watters to end the third quarter.
Young threw his third TD pass of the game early in the fourth quarter. Then, the 49ers started to pull away when Jerry Rice took a handoff from Watters and raced 43 yards for a TD and 37-23 San Francisco lead.
Hebert found Rison for a third TD with just over two minutes to play to narrow the score but San Francisco ran out the clock to preserve the win.
Atlanta’s Erric Pegram was the NFL’s leading rusher that week as he burned the 49ers for 192 yards on 27 carries. Today, it still remains the most rushing yards ever surrendered by the 49ers.
|ATL – FG Johnson 42
|SF – FG Cofer 46
|ATL – Rison 12 pass from Hebert (Johnson kick)
|SF – Williams 9 pass from Young (kick failed)
|ATL – FG Johnson 38
|SF – Jones 20 pass from Young (Cofer kick)
|ATL – Rison 3 pass from Hebert (Johnson kick)
|SF – Watters 2 run (Cofer kick)
|SF – Singleton 6 pass from Young (Cofer kick)
|ATL – FG Johnson 27
|SF – Rice 43 run (Cofer kick)
|ATL – Rison 16 pass from Hebert (Johnson kick)
Game Program Cover | Official Gamebook (PDF)
More Falcons & 49ers on Profootballhof.com
Atlanta | San Francisco
49ers Hall of Famers
John Brodie’s jersey
Steve Young’s Super Bowl XXIX jersey
Commemorative Super Bowl XXXIII football signed by the Atlanta Falcons team
Billy “White Shoes” Johnson's shoes
Some other stories on Falcons and 49ers
San Francisco celebrated a bit too early in the 1957 playoffs
Morten Andersen on display
Jerry Rice became all-time reception leader in 1995
The 49ers staged the greatest comeback in regular season history
Falcons’ duo each rushes for 1,000 yards in ’06
One year before Dave Hampton became Atlanta’s first 1,000-yard rusher, he hit the 1,000 yard mark only to be dropped for a five-yard loss and finished the year with 995 yards. See a newspaper clipping of the bizarre occurrence>>>
Archived Throwback Game of the Week>>>
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